Summer of Content - Chapter 7

Markthespark By Markthespark, 16th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Fictional account of relationships and events in a farming village called Thorn Grove

Millie takes a stand

KOWSLOSKI's truck pulls up at the front gate of his home. Millie, who is assisting their charlady with setting the dinner table, hears the commotion and prepares herself to meet him at the gate. Millie is keeping the peace, despite being "indefinitely" grounded. That includes making sure she doesn't further anger her father by delaying in giving him access to the driveway. She dare not even have him hooting, not now, especially with all the turmoil on the farm. "No, wait Millie, I'll get it," says Anna, the char, who sees the need to shield Millie from the stressful goings-on. But Millie has already run out to quickly open the gate for her father.

Kowsloski slowly gets out of his truck, as Millie rushes back to the front door to wait for him. He is in denim jeans, and a thick somewhat oversized brown woollen jersey hangs loosely over his huge frame. The large woollen cap he is wearing makes him look even more intimidating. "Hi dad", Millie says to her father, who mumbles a quick "hi" and shuffles past her. "Mr Kowsloski, dinner’s on the table" says Anna, and adds: "I have to go shortly." She has to raise her voice a little, as Kowsloski has by now gone to the bathroom to freshen up.

Anna notices the brown crumpled packet next to the settee. Kowsloski placed it there on his way in. She knows what’s inside it – what she often calls: "A packet of troubles." She sees the neck of the whiskey bottle sticking out the top - and the bottled water Kowsloski always dilutes his whiskey with, during his drinking sorties. Her thoughts quickly go to Millie, and Anna reckons to Kowsloski that she could stay a while still: "to do the dishes.. and make sure Millie is comfortable for the night."

"No Anna it's fine, I think you should go now, “says Kowsloski as he finishes up in the bathroom. He reeks of alcohol - Anna wonders if he had stopped along the way at the local pub or sat in his car polishing off his favourite drink on his way home from the day's business . "Please go Anna, Millie and I need the time .. we'll see you tomorrow," says Kowsloski, quite politely. Anna’s not sure it’s a good idea, but it’s pointless standing up to Kowsloski now - and Anna reluctantly dons her coat, and fixes her scarf to her head before grabbing her bag. She gives Millie, who is already standing at the dinner table, a hug and whispers quietly into her ear : "it will be ok .. don't worry!"

Millie is not daunted by the fact she is sitting down and having dinner with her father. Ever since being grounded, the dinner table appointments have gone ahead without any major incident. Except Kowsloski does not want to entertain discussions about her three friends, Josh, Buster and Jamie. Millie does not dare rebel ... she is well acquainted with the "not so nice side of her dad". So she would wait until the grounding "order" is well and truly over with before challenging him on anything. However, Millie notices some uneasiness in her father , a kind of shiftiness, and as they begin to eat, she realises he is not too responsive. "The feeding went okay today dad. All your baby cattle are okay ... and we've laid out the bales of hay for tomorrow's feed.."

Kowsloski is looking down at his plate as he slurps his vegetable and crouton soup. In trying to respond to his daughter’s efforts to stir up conversation, he says something resembling an "ermm" … followed by a slight nod of the head.. "Dad are you going to remove those carcasses ... they are really creating a big stink? "Have you found out what the problem is?" ... Kowsloski answers in a tone that suggests frustration at all the questioning: "Yeah yeah ... I'm going to do so tomorrow .. and the vet is still unsure as to what it is .. the results of the tests will only be available tomorrow."

"Well Josh says ...."

And, realising her mistake, Millie turns cold. Kowsloski puts down his spoon, raises his head and with cold blue eyes staring straight at his daughter.. says quietly but emphatically : "What did you say?" ...Millie is shaking like a leaf and responds very quietly: "nothing dad.. really." Kowloski has an almost evil look in his eye, probably fuelled by the alcohol he has imbibed earlier: "NOW ... what did Josh say then?"... Millie decides to obey her father: "He says his dad is losing cattle too.." Now Koslowski's anger is revving up like his truck engine...."Oh so you saw Josh today .. with his friends, I guess?". Millie becomes frantic and realises she can't deceive her father. "Dad, I could not help it, they arrived at the farm without warning today." "YOU … YOU CHEAP LIAR," is Kowsloski's angry retort. “YOU CALLED THEM, I RECKON..” His anger is fuelled less by the issues he has with the boys - it's more that he hates being rebelled against - especially by his own. "HOW DARE YOU CHILD, go against my orders?". Do you see what I have to go through .. just to keep you going .. my sweat my labour ... then having my own rebel against me huh ..? "But dad it's been a month and half of being grounded." Kowsloski gets even angrier: "DON'T YOU EVEN DARE..." DON'T YOU EVEN DARE SPEAK BACK TO ME ..."

Kowsloski is now leaning down and shouting into his daughter's face. Millie is almost cowering now ... but in one fleeting moment something comes over her. She screams back at him: 'GET AWAY FROM ME, you… you DRUNK EMBICILE!!!" Kowsloski now in a fit of rage, slaps Millie in the face and she falls in crumpled heap to the floor. Kowsloski is shocked and realises his mistake – but it's too late for regrets. For once, he is quiet.. his face contorts into an anguished look ... the tears start rushing down. "I'm so sorry ..." Millie, who has by now risen to her feet and with tears gushing down her cheeks, somehow sums up the courage to say: "JUST LOOK AT YOU ...thinking you're working to make others lives better?" JUST LOOK AT YOU … all you do is imbibe cheap liquor all day. Kowsloski is now like a tame rabbit .. the tears are streaming down his face. His are tears of regret – but Millie won’t recognise them after what he's done. "NO, p-l-e-a-s-e Millie I didn’t mean that...." But Millie is now screaming at her father at the top of her voice: "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!.. I curse the day I was born to you." “You.. you're no father .. all you do is drink your life away, you might as well be in the sewer ... lying like those sewer rats in the gutter. It's you who caused mum's suicide, your drinking ..." “Even with all your riches which you never did earn anyway .. . YOU DON’T DESERVE US!!!!” YOU ARROGANT IDIOT … YOU CAN BURN IN HELL!”

Millie heads for the back door and runs as fast as she can. The moon is still bright in the crisp evening air.. its light guiding her over hills and paddocks... she falls, stops and falls again. She runs as far away as she can from the one person bringing her so much pain in her life - her father. The stench of the rotting carcasses is getting too her. "I must get away I must get away," plays over and over in her head. She stops momentarily and looks back to make sure her “monster father” is not following her. Her chest is heaving. She starts running again as fast as she can, until she drops in a heap in front of a farmhouse door. She collapses out of sheer tiredness .. her world spins and drifts away momentarily - Millie is literally knocked unconscious by the gravity of it all. All she wants is someone to rescue her.


Author, Creative Writing, Friendships, Relationships, Short Story, Thorngrove

Meet the author

author avatar Markthespark
I am a 49 year old journalist, and have been involved in the profession for 19 years. I am currently a newspaper sub-editor at a newspaper group in Port Elizabeth on the east coast of South Africa. .

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author avatar Songbird B
8th Apr 2014 (#)

A pivotal breaking point in this chapter.. The sense of loss and pain is very well captured..\0/x

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author avatar Markthespark
9th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks .. for that ... I am trying to keep this story going

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